Who were some of your earliest musical
My first real exposure to music was 70s stuff. The Stones were huge
then. Elton John. The progressive thing was also big, so my early influences
on piano, what I started on, were acts like ELP, Herbie Hancock, and
then Pink Floyd, Rush... More guitar oriented bands. When I heard Jeff
Beck I decided "that's what I want to do".
Who are some of your more recent musical influences?
obvious influence in my playing, I think, is Steve Morse. He's the measuring
stick for song writing and technique. I'm still working on both (laughs).
I also really like the way Steve Lukather plays. Vai is great. I guess
I really like anyone named Steve (laughs). Jeff Beck always still inspires
me. His attention to feel and creating a mood with note choices and
bends knocks me on my butt every time.
What are you listening to these days?
It's in constant
rotation. For just hanging out I still love the Stones. I love Luke
(Steve Lukather). Also, anything from Rush gets played pretty often.
For current mainstream stuff I really dig the Foo Fighters. Tight band.
Then there's all my pals. Dave Martone has put out some amazing stuff
on his latest couple records. Really fresh! Doug Johns is an amazing
solo bassist and Bryan Beller has written some beautiful stuff for his
album "Thanks in Advance". Guthrie (Govan) made the greatest
guitar album in years, "Erotic Cakes". I can always listen
to that record!
What kind of effects do you use?
I use a Digitech
GSP1101. All Lexicon reverbs and delays. If I have to travel light,
I've been using an IPB-10 or RP unit that have the same processor with
a few less features but easy to carry on a plane. I've got a Shadow
midi converter and Kurzweil brain for adding keyboard pads. Generally
I don't use a whole lot of stuff on my main sound except for some stereo
delay. I bring a little delay in for the leads that sustain and sing
- to smooth them out. I have an _expression pedal to fade in the amount
I want, ala Steve Morse's set up. I think he came up with the best way
to use effects live. It keeps everything flowing, rather than clicking
effects on and off for wet sound and dry sound.
What's your current main guitar?
MusicMan. I use the John Petrucci BFR model mostly. I'm playing the
one with the custom tremolo that has a piezo pickup wired inside it.
With that I can play all the steel string parts from the albums at live
shows. I have the piezo pickup running through a volume pedal, to a
reverb, then directly to the PA. I also use the 25th Anniversary MusicMan
for less distorted sounds. Things with a bit of the gain rolled off
for more expression. My 20th Anniversary Silhouette is also really nice
for tasty playing. The Musicman "Gamechanger" is amazing.
I used it for much of the new album's rhythm guitar parts as it's got
virtually unlimited tonal possibilities.
from a single instrument.
What about acoustic?
On the last
few records I've used the Piezo in my MusicMan guitars for acoustic
textures. I still use a Carvin acoustic and a Chet Atkins nylon string
for some occasional duet shows with Jennifer. For the most part it's
all MusicMan though. It's much easier to control live and I'm able to
blend with the magnetic pickups to get a really big sound from a single
What's your amp setup like these days?
all DV Mark amps for the electric. I have two Little 40 heads running
my full stereo rig and a G1000 power amp for small fly gigs and things.
The stuff is incredibly light and flexible for any situation and they
have huge tone possibilities. I run into two DV Mark 212 or 412 cabs
depending on the gig. All my effects are coming from the GSP1101 with
a Control 2 pedal board on the floor. To amplify the midi guitar and
piezo pickup I use Electro-voice ELX115P powered monitors. EV monitors
and PA cabs have a really flat response that doesn't color the sound
like most stuff. All the different sends are brought in and out with
Ernie Ball volume pedals so I can blend electric, acoustic and synth